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Since 1994 the law has allowed civil weddings to take place in buildings other than a Registry Office. However, civil ceremonies allow little room for variation. They follow a standard format, and there are strict controls over what can be said and done, and over what music may be played. Besides, those who are not religious may well feel that a church wedding is inappropriate.

For those who want an individual ceremony with more meaningful and personal content than a civil ceremony, a humanist wedding could be the ideal answer. It is designed to suit your particular needs, personalities and outlooks, and from the outset you are involved with the celebrant in deciding exactly what you want it to include. You can write your own vows, and select words and music that mean something to you. Where family members and friends make spoken or musical contributions it adds enormously to the ceremony.

Because humanist weddings in England (unlike in Scotland) are not yet legally recognised, couples have to go to a Registry Office as well. Usually they do this either on the same day or a day or two beforehand, with just a couple of witnesses, and keep it low key. Needless to say, they regard the humanist ceremony as their ‘real’ wedding, and it is usually here that they exchange vows and rings.

Of course renewal of vows can also be arranged.

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